Since Zimbabwe’s land reform of 2000 – when around 8 million hectares of formerly large-scale commercial farmland was distributed to about 175,000 households – debates about the consequences for food security have raged. A standard narrative has been that Zimbabwe has turned from “food basket” to “basket case”. This year, following the devastating El Niñodrought combined with Cyclone Idai, some 5.5 million people are estimated to be at risk of hunger, with international agencies issuing crisis and emergency alerts.
Global food security
Governments and development partners looking to accelerate progress in addressing malnutrition have been examining how to use interventions in value-chains to improve diets. However, the links between interventions in value chains and diets involve a range of direct and indirect effects that are not yet well understood. We apply a mixed-method multisectoral diagnostic to examine potential interventions in food systems to improve diets of smallholder farmers in Malawi. We examine entry points for interventions involving public and private-sectors, and explore the methodological requirements for undertaking this type of multisectoral analysis. We find that although food consumption is dominated by maize, a range of nutritious foods are also being consumed; including leafy greens, fruits, chicken, dried fish, dried beans and peas, and groundnuts. Yet important deficits in nutrient intake remain prevalent in low-income households due to inadequate quantity of consumption. While increasing consumption through own-production is one potentially important channel to increase quantity of nutritious foods available (particularly fruits and leafy green vegetables), markets also play a potentially important role. Nutritious foods are available on markets year-round, although strong seasonality impacts the availability and price of perishable products. For beans, peas and groundnuts, supply appears to be available throughout the year, with price fluctuations relatively controlled due to storage capacity and imports. The capacity of markets to supply safe and nutritious food is limited by a number of issues, including poor hygiene; lack of infrastructure for storage and selling; limited information on nutrition, and weak coordination among sellers and producers. Other bottlenecks include: on-farm constraints for expanded production, consumers with limited purchasing capacity, intense competition among sellers and few services for sellers to increase volume of product sold during peak demand. The diagnostics identify the role of information-related interventions to optimize decisions related to food choices, involving a range of different foods and value-chains, that could potentially lead to short- and medium-term improvements in diets. Longer-term and more resource-intensive interventions are also identified, such as improving capacity for product differentiation, processing, storage, and market infrastructure across a different range of food chains, so as to maximise coherence between short- and long-term planning. The findings highlight the benefits of applying a strategic, food systems-based approach of identifying specific and complementary actions for both the public and private sectors that can improve the diets of low-income populations.
It’s a truism of the diet industry that getting too little sleep can make fatty, sweet foods more tempting. Now, researchers think they know why: Sleep loss influences the same smell-processing neural pathway that smoking marijuana does. “This is an exceptional study,” says Christian Benedict, a neuroscientist at Uppsala University in Sweden who has worked on the effects of sleep loss on metabolism but was not involved with the new research. Sleep deprivation has long been known to make people crave higher calorie foods. To find out how that process works, Thorsten Kahnt, a neurologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, took inspiration from studies linking sleep deprivation in humans to an increase in certain molecules in the endocannabinoid system, a complex network of neurotransmitters and receptors that, among other things, is affected by marijuana. Studies in mice have shown this system influences how the brain processes smells. And smell is a powerful driver of appetite—as illustrated by any gas station cinnamon roll shop.
When conversations turn to the world’s climate and natural resources, they often also go to livestock production. That was the idea behind a session at the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock international meeting hosted by Kansas State University Sept. 9-13. The topic, “Climate and Natural Resource Use,” was one of several addressed as delegates from around the world convened to talk about opportunities and challenges for livestock producers in countries large and small, according to a Kansas State news release.
[行业报告] How the United States benefits from agricultural and food security investments in developing countries 进入全文
U.S. foreign agricultural assistance investments bring substantial economic, health, and security benefits to both developing countries and the United States. This report describes the food security investments of the U.S. Agency for International Development and how improving agriculture in developing countries brings positive returns to the United States and developing countries. The multiple benefits of foreign agricultural assistance include growth of agri-food systems of developing countries, and positive impacts on U.S. jobs and exports, technology spillovers that support U.S. agricultural production, health and nutrition of U.S. consumers, and global and U.S. security.
A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst is using drones and satellites to boost Ethiopia’s agricultural exports and improve food security in a nation once synonymous with famine. Africa’s second most populous country, still struggles to feed itself. But now the government’s Agriculture Transformation Agency, headed by Khalid Bomba, is aiming for widespread commercial farming and food security in 20 years. It’s modeling itself on initiatives in South Korea and Taiwan. “The reason Ethiopia’s agricultural sector has not developed is because we have not leveraged technology,” said Bomba, 51, who spent a decade at JPMorgan on Wall Street and in London and later worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation developing and managing grants in the agriculture sector.